Time to go dotty with your CNC artwork
Halftone-styled images have a compelling power to them. Perhaps it’s the retro-nostalgia of 1960’s Pop Art, the grainy speckles of old newsprint, or maybe it’s something else entirely? Either way, there is just something about all those dots.
Evil Mad Scientists (you know, the guys behind the Egg-Bot amongst other things) have released StippleGen, a stand-alone program that converts any image into CNC-friendly SVG format.
There is a considerable amount of control as you tweak the algorithms, whether you are after a specific number or style of dots, or even a continuous TSP path. It’s all geared towards use on small CNC devices such as the Egg-Bot, but don’t let that stop you if you have larger aspirations.
StippleGen is designed to be easy to install, easy to use, and easy to modify. It is capable of producing excellent quality output with up to 10,000 points.
Click through to EMSL for a thorough run-down on just what this neat little software package is capable of.
via Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories
Mechanical modelling with free software tools
Following on from last week’s introductory tutorial, here’s a bit more information on how to make mechanical models in SketchUp with SketchyPhysics. By the way, here’s a great resource if you want to learn more about mechanical linkages, gears, and all that good stuff (hat tip to Edgar Castelo for the link).
Continuing my commitment to using free software even though it drives me up the wall sometimes
Following my recent obsession with drawing machines, I’m working on a new project with lots of gears and linkages. I figured it would be a good time to learn how to do mechanical modelling in SketchUp. Sketchy Physics is a plugin for Google SketchUp that allows you to simulate mechanical models. It is very capable but also very frustrating!
Figuring I’m not the first person to get frustrated on the way to creating meshing gears in SketchUp, I wrote this tutorial. I hope it will help some of you get up the steepest part of the learning curve.
Stay tuned for Part 2 coming soon.
An experiment in interactive generative design
Inspired by the likes of Nervous System, Alan Rorie of Hero Design has created a generative software bookshelf application with Processing based on the voronoi pattern algorithm. The software allows users to determine variables such as overall size, shape and depth and then automatically generates the appropriate 3D geometry which can also be flattened and saved as a PDF in 2D for cutting out via the selected production process i.e. laser/waterjet cutting or CNC routing. (more…)
The next generation of automatic slicing tools.
Kristian Hildebrand, Bernd Bickel, and Marc Alexa of the Technical University of Berlin have created a program to automatically produce slotting laser-cuttable templates from any 3D model. While several tools are available to slice a 3D form for laser cutting, this program is far more advanced than any I have seen.
Software for cutting images into materials with CNC… Software developer Jason Dorie has created a couple of Windows applications – Halftoner and Reactor that allow people to create halftones images for CNC routing from ordinary image files. They both require the Microsoft .NET framework, V3.5 (more…)
With the right technology, 3D printing is child’s play.
PotteryPrint is a truly exciting new iPad app that lets children use a virtual pottery wheel to create completely unique works of art ready for 3d printing.
The PotteryPrint team is currently seeking funding through Kickstarter to take their prototype to deployment.
They’ve got 20 days and $10,000 to go. You can support the project for as little as $1, and they’ve got some great pledge rewards including a home-baked dozen of your favorite cookies!
I talked to Brian, Cameron and Shlok from PotteryPrint to find out more about this app, their inspiration behind the project, and their thoughts on the intersection of technology and childhood education.
First up, can a kid really use a 3D modeling app?
Kids can do amazing things if given the right tools, but until now the majority of 3D design software has been created using traditional CAD-based software which is often complex and takes some training to use effectively.
The amazing thing about tablets is that the touchscreen interface just clicks with kids. I (Cameron) have a two year old and four year old — both can easily navigate the family iPad: pointing at something comes far more naturally to children than using a mouse. The combination of touchscreen and the malleability of clay makes PotteryPrint immediately accessible to kids. It calls on something natural, something primitive. Your hands, making something.
Testing the limits of this easy-to-use software
ReconstructMe, the free tool for creating 3D models with a Kinect sensor, was released to the public a few days ago. I wrote a post about testing it during the private beta, and today I’ve got more scans to share.
Since my first scan was a bit uncontrolled, I wanted to work with some smaller objects that I could fully walk around and capture on all sides. The first one is a small head model that was originally part of the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Prestige Edition package. It’s a recreation of the ‘Soap’ MacTavish character’s head, that acts as a stand for the night vision goggles that were also in included in the package.
The original, sitting on the back of my chair: (more…)
Easy, practical 3D scanning for hobbyists
ReconstructMe is a software tool for Windows that uses the Microsoft Kinect (or Asus Xtion PRO LIVE) to capture 3D models in real-time. The software given to testers originally just displayed device info, and reconstructed models from existing data, but now it has the all of the basic features from beginning to end.
Even though it doesn’t have a GUI yet, ReconstructMe is very easy to use, and produces an STL file that is almost immediately ready to print. When scanning myself, I only had to execute the basic repair script in netfabb Studio (to close holes in the mesh), and then crop out the portions that I didn’t want to print.
I’ve put together this video of the process, from capture to cleanup to print: (more…)
Can you predict the future? Have a say in the CG Society forum discussion.
Around here at Ponoko, there is often much talk about how Digital Manufacturing is our Next Big Thing. As a part of this conversation, it can also be interesting to see what else is happening in related fields. Often the developments and advances in neighbouring industries can have quite an influence on what happens in our own back yard.
Enter CG Society. An online community where many of the world’s leading digital artists get together to knock each others’ socks off. Aside from portfolios, galleries and competitions, CGS also boasts an active forum in which I recently spotted a thread asking what the next innovations in computer generated artwork will be. Not sci-fi dreamings of the distant future… but what is just around the corner.
Responses include the usual suspects of greater computing power and faster speed. But things get interesting when people talk about specific technological advances like specular lighting and motion capture that were the stuff of pipe dreams only a few years ago, yet are everyday fare for digital artists today.
Also popping up in the discussion are the more Ponoko-familiar modeling, scanning and 3D printing technologies and how to best make use of them.
The colourful conversation continues, with amateurs and experts alike sharing their thoughts on just where these technologies will be in a few short years.